Original Article from Beauty Packaging – 4-5-22
The beauty industry turns to molded pulp, paper, reclaimed ocean plastics, & plant-based materials as it plots a smarter, more eco-friendly packaging path. As the path forward in sustainable packaging accelerates, beauty brands are progressively seeking creative materials that can make a difference.
New types of innovative materials are being explored. Beauty brands are modernizing their packaging with new types of materials—including molded pulp, paper and reclaimed ocean plastics.
We spoke to several suppliers offering these new materials.
Sourcing Eco-Friendly Paper, Pulp & Plastics Will Make a Difference
Worldwide, experts are offering predictions on which solutions will spark the greatest impact.
The demand for paper, pulp, and plastics is on the rise—especially for more sustainable versions of these materials. (Note: Wallpaper recently explored some of these new materials in the article, “Are biomaterials the future of beauty packaging?”)
In the paper realm, Fortune Business Insights expects the global paper and board segment to grow in volume and value due to shifting consumer perspectives.
In a similar vein, Grandview Research reports demand for molded pulp packaging (think egg cartons) is also poised to grow. This is due to an increased demand for sustainable packaging solutions and stringent plastic regulations, with non-wood sources like grasses, cereal straw, sugar cane bagasse and reeds, expected to drive innovation.
On the plastics side, The Pew Charitable Trusts estimates 11 million metric tons of plastic are dumped in the ocean each year, and says we’re on track to triple this amount by 2040 unless large-scale countermeasures are implemented.
Suppliers Offer Pulp & Paper Innovations
Molded fiber, made from molded pulp, is an eco-friendly material that offers beauty brands a creative solution to sustainable packaging issues.
Molded fiber is not a new material, but its texture and sustainable story have helped it become a popular option for primary and secondary packaging. It’s inherently cost effective (compared to plastics), offers a reduction in raw material and tooling costs, and minimizes transit costs due to its light weight.
NF Beauty Group offers molded fiber and pulp-based packaging, which offer beauty brands numerous advantages.
NF Beauty Group anticipates an increased demand for paper pulp-based packaging in the next two to three years because of its advantages.
“Paper pulp provides an opportunity for secondary packaging that many laminated and highly decorated paper board products cannot provide due to the heavy coating and layers,” comments Andrea Greff, industrial designer.
“Paper pulp presents the ability to recycle without clogging up the recycling stream with glues and dyes, as long as it has been separated from any Styrofoam or protective lining. [It can be] placed in compost when necessary,” Greff says.
Because paper pulp can be prone to tearing and rough surfaces, the tooling process is quite important. “When processing to create pulp into a protective pack, a designer or engineer must design the tool in three-dimensional shapes,” says Greff. “This means paper pulp packaging requires tooling. Typical paperboard is only limited by the shape of two-dimensional die-cutters so this process can be both a challenge and an opportunity for brands.”
The cost of a paper pulp project depends on its complexity. “The rule of thumb is what you save (financially) on the assembly-line will be used in tooling with molded paper pulp,” she says.
“The tooling cost will be a three-dimensional steel or metal tool, so it requires 3D modeling and engineering—automated machine cutting steel, compression pressure, and edge finishing, but won’t require construction assembling as you’d see with die-cut paper board boxes or other paperboard packaging.”
Balance aims to help beauty brands replace plastics with bamboo and sugarcane pulp packaging.
Ceara Connolly, marketing manager, Balance Inc., contends molded fiber allows brands to play with volume while enhancing the overall experience for the consumer.
Molded fiber from Balance Inc. is a sustainable mixture of replenishable bamboo and bagasse (a by-product of sugarcane waste—aka sugarcane pulp) that’s 100% recyclable and can be refillable and reusable.
“We are working hard at eliminating plastics by replacing them with paper and molded fiber [which] allows for the reduction of petroleum-based products,” Connolly says. “The molded fiber manufacturing process also has a system in place for the reuse of the water used throughout the manufacturing process.”
One of Balance Inc.’s most recent molded fiber applications is a molded fiber insert for a rigid, FSC certified paper box made for DKNY Holiday 2021. The insert allows three products to nestle safely inside.
Knoll specializes in molded pulp packages that can make a clamshell look luxurious—like it did for Chanel.
Knoll Printing & Packaging has seen demand for its Knoll Ecoform molded pulp grow steadily since its introduction in 2018.
The company spent five years developing the solution to meet the aesthetics of this industry, and the resulting product is a “vegetable-based recipe” featuring Bagasse fibers (waste from sugarcane), bamboo and wood base fibers that’s FSC, recyclable (CEREC EN643 Norm) and biodegradable.
To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the N°5 perfume, Chanel partnered with Knoll Packaging to reinvent its packaging with a protective and sustainable, 100% Knoll Ecoform pulp clamshell.
The sleek, all-white clamshell is molded to echo the iconic shape of Chanel’s iconic N°5 perfume, and is biodegradable and recyclable in the paper and board recycling stream.
“Behind the purity and perfection of this design lies a high degree of complexity of both development and engineering to bring this unique shape to life,” says Ben Cohen, creative and innovation director, Knoll Printing & Packaging. “This project, which took over 18 months to develop, is not only an engineering feat, but also redefines the benchmark for sustainable luxury packaging.”
MAC also utilized Knoll Ecoform Molded Pulp for its 12-lipstick holiday set. “This packaging design itself is a double square split that can self-display on counters or in a customer’s home,” Cohen explains. “The construction requires a high level of expertise to allow the hinges to extend to the varying degrees, while maintaining the integrity of the box.”
Cohen says in 2022, Knoll will lean into growing demand for Knoll Ecoform Molded Pulp and eliminate 200 metric tons of plastic from its supply chain by implementing the product into its highest-volume ongoing projects.
“Our in-house sustainability department has conducted multiple Life Cycle Analyses on Knoll Ecoform…to…study the environmental impact of the material compared to the plastic and board versions of the same part,” Cohen explains.
“Our study has found that a Knoll Ecoform part emits upwards of 70% less CO2, as compared to the same part in plastic. Knoll Ecoform looks and feels like a paper-based product, so customers know it’s sustainable and how to recycle the package, and our customers are aware that it has less impact on the environment.”
Allta will debut 3D-texturing technologies for paper packaging at MakeUp in LosAngeles.
As a long-time proponent of the inherent sustainability of paper packaging, Allta has been leveraging its long history of turnkey paper packaging production.
The company specializes in elevated applications with distinctive, artisan touches—including the recent turnkey production of stunning paper eye and face makeup palettes for Dito Cosmetics. The brand’s design maximizes bold graphics and fashion-forward color.
David Berkman, CEO, says the company is also looking forward to MakeUp in LosAngeles, where it will debut new 3D texturing technologies like sparkle and flocking that were devised to give paper palettes fresh new looks.
ELC is the consortium’s first prestige beauty company to support the development of a recyclable paper bottle made from wood pulp, responsibly sourced. It uses FSC-certified renewable feedstocks from responsibly managed forests.
The new paper bottle is designed to be widely recyclable in standard waste streams and will support ELC’s efforts to reduce the environmental impact of its packaging across the lifecycle.